REPORTBACK: Vancouver Condemns Immigration Raids

Posted by admin on Apr 10th, 2009

On April 9th, approximately 30 people gathered in Vancouver for an emergency press conference to condemn the unprecedented raids of non-status workers in Southern Ontario. Members of No One Is Illegal, Siklab Filipino Overseas Workers, Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society, Iranian Federation of Refugees, Justicia for Migrant Workers, CIPO, and allies then took their message straight into CBSA offices, despite multiple security attempts to stop the delegation. CBSA insisted that the delegation return with an ‘appointment’ and threatened to call the police, but the delegation remained and briefly occupied the front offices – chanting and dencouncing the violence and brutality of the recent raids, sending a clear message that we are outraged and angered – that we will not remain silent as hundreds of non-status and migrant workers are being brutalized – that we will stand now before these raids escalate across the country.

RELEASE: April 8, 2009, Vancouver – Community groups, immigrant worker organizations, and members of the legal community are outraged at the recent Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) raids in Ontario. Executing unprecedented US-style raids and massive round-ups in East Toronto, Leamington, and Bradford, CBSA has arrested and detained over 100 non-status and migrant workers.

In one of the largest CBSA raids in Canadian history on Thursday April 2 and Friday April 3, enforcement officers stormed into workplaces including factories and farms, as well as workers homes. Most of the arrestees are currently being held in Immigration Detention Centres.

According to the Immigration Legal Committee of Toronto, a joint project of the Law Union of Ontario and No One is Illegal-Toronto, “We vociferously condemn the CBSA raids as a shift towards aggressive enforcement tactics. Every person should be concerned about the message this sends to our friends and community members.”

“In this economic crisis, migrant workers are even more vulnerable. Rather than guaranteeing that these workers have full rights as permanent residents, Canadian immigration policies systemically discriminates and exploits these workers who work in the most dangerous sectors of our economy,” states Peggy Lee of No One Is Illegal-Vancouver.

According to Glecy Duran, Chairperson of SIKLAB-BC Overseas Filipino Workers, “Without looking at the contributions migrants make to the Canadian economy, the government continues to criminalize migrants.”

“These anti-immigrant raids make clear that in fact, contrary to Minister Jason Kenney’s recent comments, Canada is not a hotel. These raids heighten a sense of fear in immigrant communities and ensure that migrant workers will continue to work as part of Canada’s revolving door policy with minimal human and labour rights” further states Lee.

“Instead of dignity and justice, the government is choosing a path of racism, criminalization, and fear-mongering against migrant workers. But we want to make it clear to them that across Canada people are protesting these US-style anti-immigrant enforcement tactics and are demanding justice for migrants.”

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